Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Writing Desk

We have a small home office at the front of our house.  It's a real thoroughfare as there is a door to the front entrance hall at one end of the room and a door to the garage at the other end.  I have tried placing a desk in various positions over the years, but the place I prefer best is between the two north facing windows that look out onto our street.

There is only a small amount of wall between the windows and I didn't want to block them with a heavy desk.  I searched eBay and found this desk for $150.  More than I would normally pay but a similar one had sold for $300 so I took it.

I sanded it back, only to find that whilst the legs were solid timber, the top was laminate (yuk).  Originally I had thought I'd keep the top timber and paint the legs, but after discovering the laminate, all white was the way to go.

I changed the brass drawer pulls for these decorative black ones from Recollections.

I was a little nervous about having a white desk top, and my friend Ivana suggested I get a piece of glass cut to sit on top.  So I did.

The glass top protects the desk top and means I can put down cups and glasses without worry.  My computer mouse doesn't like the glass top though.

A gardenia and Autumn Crocus from my garden.

The black framed pictures above the desk are of Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

So this is where I sit and write to you.  I really like it.  Now all I have to do is get a comfortable chair!

Sharing at White Wednesday

Friday, 24 February 2012

Some Friday Pretties

I just needed to see something pretty today.

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via Beachcomber

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All images credits can be found on the board Pretty Decorating - Pinterest

Have a great weekend

Monday, 20 February 2012

Vanity Sink Makeover

The vanity unit in our powder room is a basic builders unit.  Nothing special.  I can't really justify ripping it out to install a new one, so I thought I'd see if I could pretty it up a bit.

I decided to add some decorative timber moulding and to paint over the pale green laminate doors.

I marked out where I wanted the moulding to go, and cut it to size.  I attached the moulding to the doors with builder's adhesive (liquid nails) and caulked gap filler (no more gaps) around the joins.  I also attached a piece of skirting board (base board) along the bottom.  To paint over the laminate, I used Zissner 123 primer followed by a couple of coats of Dulux aquaenamel in Whisper White.

I think it looks prettier now.  Not so much like a builder's unit.

A few years ago I replaced the standard builder's mirror with this one.

It was about $50 from the discount store.  It was bright gold but I liked the ornate detail in the frame and the bevelled edge on the mirror.  Originally I painted it in a matt white paint and it looked like a plaster frame.  I have since painted it in a gloss paint.  I probably like the matt paint better but it was really hard to keep clean.

This is the sign on the door.  There's no bath in the powder room, so that might confuse guests a little?

Monday, 13 February 2012

A Herb Garden and Liquid Sandstone

My husband and I both enjoy good food and decided it was time that we plant a herb garden.  We have a nice sunny spot out the back that was perfect, and a pile of old terracotta pots we could use.

I liked the terracotta pots but they were too orange for the sandstone coloured columns and pavers we have out the back. 

To buy new sandstone pots would cost a small fortune, so I decided to makeover the existing pots with a product called Liquid Sandstone (available from Bunnings/hardware store).

Web Link
The first step is to clean the pots ready for painting.  I used a high pressure water cleaner (gernie) to remove the dirt and moss.

Then I applied 2-3 coats of liquid sandstone with an old brush.  It is very much like painting with with wet sand from the beach.  Once the paint dried I gave the pots a coat of sealer to protect them.  My husband got to work and filled all the pots with drainage gravel, good soil, fertiliser and the herbs.  About a month on, this is how our herb garden looks in our 'sandstone' pots.

 We have basil, sage, thyme, mint, parsley and a bay tree in the charcoal pot. 
Meals definitely taste better with the fresh herbs.

Sharing at:  The Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage

Friday, 10 February 2012

Getting Organised for 2012 (a bit late)

You know what it's like, every year you say to yourself "This year I am going to be organised".  Hmmmmm.  Well I have tried to set myself up for success this year with a calendar and a few apps.  Of course, if I was really organised I would have done this in December last year!

Firstly I created a family calendar.  I usually use Snapfish but this year I tried a Kikki K one.  I like creating my own calendar as you can add all your favourite photos.  Once I got the calendar I recorded many things on it:
  • Public holidays
  • School term dates and holidays
  • Birthdays and special occasions
  • My son's tennis fixtures and competitions and my daughter's dancing commitments
  • and social functions
I then entered all the same information on the calendar on my phone.   The advantage of the iphone calendar is that you can set up recurring events and alerts/reminders.  Although I use the calendar on my phone when I am out and about, I like having a paper calendar in the kitchen where everybody in the family can see what we have on.  It's easy to see at a glance what's coming up.

The next thing I did was to set up a "To Do" list system.  I chose a free app called Errands.

Using this app I can create a list of things to do.  Each task is given a due date, priority, and category.  The app then sorts all the tasks in the order you specify.  Here's an example:

There are a couple of things I like about this app.
  • I can set up recurring errands.  For example, I like to check what bills I have to pay every Monday, so I have set up this task.  When I tick that I have completed this, the app automatically creates this task again for next Monday.
  • When tasks need to be completed in the next 24 hours, a red circle showing the number of tasks shows on the apps icon.  There is also a folder called Focus which only shows the tasks requiring your immediate attention.  I like this as I will often happily pin away on pinterest instead of doing something I really need to do.
  • The other thing I like is you can create a project such as Re-decorate Bedroom, then create a list underneath that task listing each action you need to do to finish the whole project.  For example, buy paint, sand/wash walls, clean carpets... Each item on the list has it's own check box so you can tick each one off, as you work towards your final goal.
So hopefully, these couple of things will help me to stay organised.  We'll see!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

DIY - How to Restore a Shower

I hate cleaning showers.  Especially as our ensuite shower is 13 years old and when you clean it, it never looks shiny and new again.  It's so frustrating - It feels like such a waste of time.  I would dearly love a new ensuite, but the reality is, it will be a number of years before we can renovate it.  So if I have to live with this shower for the next few years, it was going to need a little restoration.

Step 1 - Replace the cheap water saving fixed shower head with a massage shower head on a rail, so it is easy to clean the shower.

I chose the Methven Amio 5 function shower head.  Oh yeah!
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 Step 2 - I can't look at these feature tiles any longer, so I painted over them with Zissner 123 primer and 2 coats of white gloss paint.  You can buy specialist tile paint, but it wasn't worth it for me as I only had to paint 3 tiles.

Step 3 - Rejuvenate the grout.  After 13 years the white grout was no longer white.  I didn't want to have to scrape out and re-grout the whole thing.  So firstly I cleaned the whole shower with a good mould cleaner. 

Selleys Rapid Mould Killer

Then I wanted to freshen up the grout.  Originally I tried one of those white grout pens, but it didn't really work well.  I think they are really designed for drawing fake grout lines over painted tiles rather than making real grout lines white again  Then I discovered Selleys Grout Stain Whitener. 

Selleys Whitener

This stuff is great.  It's basically pre-mixed white grout in a tube with a sponge applicator.  Squeeze it on over the grout lines, let it dry for 30-120 minutes, and when dry wipe over the tiles with a sponge to remove the excess grout.  I found a flat sponge rather than a cloth (Chux) worked best.  Here's the tiles with the grout squeezed on:

and here's how they turned out:

Honestly - They look brand new.

The final step in the restoration process was the glass shower screen.  For this I used Enduroshield.

It's a protective coating for glass.  It's a two part process.  Firstly you clean the glass with the cleaning solution and some fine steel wool.  Then you seal the glass with the sealer.  Once the sealer has cured (about 8 hours) like the box says - It's like water off a duck's back.  The water just beads on the glass.  A quick wipe over with a micro fibre cloth and the shower screen sparkles like new again.  Oh why didn't I do this earlier?

So here's my finished shower

I was so happy with the way it turned out that I also used the grout whitener and Enduroshield sealer on the downstairs shower.  The shower has been done for a few weeks now, and it is so much easier to clean.  Well worth the effort.

This is not a sponsored post.  These are just the products I used and I thought they were great.

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